The Imperial Palace (German: Kaiserliche Hofburg) is one of the major attractions in Innsbruck. Originally built by the Archduke Siegmund the Rich in 1460 in Gothic architectural style, this monumental structure was to became a home of the Habsburg dynasty until the end of their rule at the conclusion of World War I. The Palace, known as the Hofburg by locals, is now a world class museum featuring an intimate view of the lavish lifestyles and extraordinary wealth of these past rulers.
The Hofburg was remodeled between 1754 and 1773 by the Empress Maria Theresa (although she only visited Innsbruck twice during her life) adding Baroque and Rococo elements of architecture to the original Gothic structure. A massive banquet room, known as the Giant’s Hall, gives visitors a palpable sense of the elegance and wealth of the former Habsburg dynasty. Unlike other such halls in European castles, the Giant’s Hall has been modernized with the addition of heat.
Domed towers at the corners of the Hofburg have ceilings painted with luxurious Renaissance art, and the 25 State apartments in the Palace are filled with exquisite examples of furnishings and paintings from the centuries when it was a royal residence. The huge Gothic Cellar below the Palace is included in tours, and it can even be rented by the public for special events.
The Hofburg Imperial Palace was given another, more recent renovation in the 1990s bringing its rooms and exhibition halls up to modern museum standards. The renovations have also made the Hofburg a more comfortable environment for tourists who wish to experience the splendors of the past with the conveniences of the modern day. The exterior is magnificently lighted at night making the Hofburg shine like a jewel against the backdrop of Innsbruck’s majestic mountain scenery.